W SERIES CHAMPION CHADWICK BACK ON TOP IN AUSTRIA
Defending W Series champion Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing) will start the second race of the 2021 season from pole position after edging out her old rival Beitske Visser (M. Forbes Motorsport) during qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.
The 23-year-old Briton secured the fourth pole position of her W Series career with a 1:28.473, which was a tenth of a second quicker than 2019 runner-up Beitske who will join her on the front row for Saturday’s race.
Emma Kimiläinen (Ecurie W) was third fastest but will start the race from sixth after receiving a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision during last week’s season-opener at the same circuit, meaning promotions for Bruna Tomaselli (Veloce Racing) and W Series Academy Team drivers Nerea Marti and Irina Sidorkova. Marta Garcia (PUMA), Sarah Moore (Scuderia W), Ayla Agren (M. Forbes Motorsport) and Belen Garcia (Scuderia W) completed the top 10.
After a light rain shower ahead of qualifying, the session was red-flagged two minutes in when Sabre Cook (Bunker Racing) spun into the gravel. Jamie hit the front with 20 minutes remaining by becoming the first driver to go under 90 seconds, and she improved again two minutes later to briefly lead the field by eight tenths of a second before Abbie Eaton (Ecurie W) halved Jamie’s advantage.
Bruna overcame a wheel-nut issue at the start of qualifying to go to the top of the timing screens with 12 minutes left when she went a tenth of a second quicker than her Veloce team-mate Jamie. Four minutes later, Beitske became the first driver to dip below 89 seconds to lead Bruna by half a second, but Jamie regained the lead by a tenth of a second with seven minutes to go and could not be toppled.
After winning last week’s race from pole position, Alice Powell (Racing X) had to settle for 13th and reported a brake bias issue at the end of qualifying. However, the championship leader will start the race from 12th after Vicky Piria’s (Sirin Racing) three-place grid penalty for causing a collision during race one.
Jamie staged a fine recovery drive to finish sixth last weekend and carried that momentum into round two by topping both the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday.
On a much cooler weekend in Austria, Jamie beat Alice’s pole position time from last weekend after barely 10 minutes of the practice session which she topped with a 1:28.728. Jamie was the only driver to dip below 89 seconds and was three tenths of a second quicker than Irina in second place with Beitske third.
Dave Ryan (Racing Director, W Series) said:
“It was a good session after an unfortunate moment for Sabre right at the beginning. There was a mix of old and new drivers at the front – some of the established drivers from 2019 and a few of the younger ones up there which was really good to see and a bit unexpected. Then we had Alice Powell down at the back. I don’t know quite what the problem was there, but overall a pretty good session.”
Jamie Chadwick, 23, UK, Veloce Racing, said:
“I’m really happy and I think that makes up for last weekend. That’s the first job done and tomorrow is the second job, so I’m happy to get that one out of the way. We had planned to do a few more laps on the used tyres to get a better feel with less fuel on the new tyres but, to be honest, the new tyres took a little longer than we thought. Fortunately, it all came together then and I’m happy with the result. I was a bit surprised about having a time deleted for track limits earlier in the session – it was probably my fault but I managed to write that off and get it right on the next lap.”
Beitske Visser, 26, Netherlands, M. Forbes Motorsport, said:
“It was a good improvement from last week and being on the front row tomorrow is a good start. Hopefully I can have a better start than Jamie and take the lead, but it’s going be a close one around this track. We made a few changes on the set-up compared to last week which paid off and I’ve been working hard.”
Emma Kimiläinen, 31, Finland, Ecurie W, said:
“There were some issues today but we overcame them. There were some technical issues with the car, so we are going to fix it and see what it is. I’m very proud of my team for how quickly they changed the rear roll-bar and tyres even though we had pressure because of the time. Then I could get myself together and put in some good lap times in the end. That part I’m really happy about, but I have the penalty so will start from sixth. It is not as bad as it could be. I will start from there and I’m really happy because I know I have the pace to be on the podium.”